Cover photo – Russian Butte in Alpen Glow
Great reunion and the first hike with Unkle Joe this season. We wanted to do something relatively close to Seattle. Green Mountain has been on my list to climb for about seven years. I had a printed topo map on the desk in my office for a long time. This mountain is typically climbed in winter conditions, as the terrain is easier in snowshoes. Benson and I attempted this in January 2022. This is not as simple as it seems in summer, as the terrain is a mix of steep loose dirt and lots of interesting rocks to climb up and over, with some exposure on the ridge that is more exposed than maps or other trip reposts have indicated. To the north of the ridge are interesting rock formations and towers. I took no photos of these as I was busy scrambling up some interesting bits.
We started on the CCC road. The Civilian Conversation Corps road was built in the Depression Era to facilitate timber and mining interests in the Middle Fork Valley. The road extends some 13+ miles to the Taylor River, which has a new trail, a former road extending nearly to Snoqualamle Lake for an additional six miles. The area deep in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Valley is super interesting as you can only see the peaks from this road, no freeways or other roads, and even most peaks are only visible if you climb other peaks like Green Mountain, which we did today.
Off the road and onto the trail
Once past the bridge, the trail continually climbed with a gentle slope to two points of interest, Far Enough Promontory and Absolute Last Promontory, places with wide and expansive views of the Middle Fork Valley and Mountains gearing the valley below.
Views from Far Enough Promontory and Absolute Last Promontory
From here on, the path was steep, and a mix of softy slippery dirt, talus, rock formations, and many places so steep we could have used an ice axe for the dirt, but relegated to “veggie belays,” using tree and brush branches for aid to ascent and descend the steep boot path.
Typical trail below
The trail was very steep at times, but the challenge was in our footing, slippery dirt that gave way with each step. I think this would be much easier in winter with snow. I was gassed and slow going up. Plus, it was hot and humid. Some tricky bits made it look like the trail would be too tough for an extended ascent, but we made it over the tough bits to find a more steep trail. Joe encouraged me to keep pushing, as we did want to climb this again to make the summit, so I dug deep and pushed with lots of rest breaks. I discovered after our hike that I was wearing my son Carter’s boots, size 13. I wear 11.5 in the same brand. I suspect that contributed to the challenges in my footing. 😂
Amazing views and a well-earned summit.
Joe was concerned about the descent as it would be a slippery, shit show of steep dirt and a fir-covered path. He was right. Right out of the gate, I slipped on my ass and had an unplanned dirt glissade. An ice axe would have been great. The slope maxed out at 56 degrees, not bad if it were snow or rocks, but slippery dirt – unsuitable for a steep downclimb. We were tired, so we took time to ensure we had sound footing, which proved not to be trivial, and we had to use many veggie belays. If I were not so physically tired, I would have had more fun, but today was an exercise in caution with footwork to ensure no unplanned falls.
We pushed on downwards, making good time as the daylight was waning.
We made it off the climber’s trail, back to the main trail, and finally, the CCC Road for a long march out. The alpenglow on the Middle Fork Peaks was amazing.
Joe and I had a great outing. Another classic Alpine Finish, happy to be hiking challenging objectives in the mountains. The first of many for us this year.
As always, thanks for #HikingWithHadland, @hikingwiththehad.